Design Technology

Housed in our state-of-the-art Innovation Centre, Design Technology calls for pupils to be creative problem-solvers, both as individuals and as part of a team. They are encouraged to think imaginatively in order to design unique and often speculative solutions to real-world problems. We want to prepare pupils to engage with rapidly changing technologies and provide opportunities for them to respond to the environment in which they live.

From making their initial project briefs through to presenting their design portfolios and physical prototypes, pupils are sharpening their skills in research, analysis, communication, empathy, project planning and evaluation. We prefer to challenge our pupils to develop ambitious, forward-thinking design solutions rather than the more traditional bespoke furniture projects.

The Beko Innovation Centre opened its doors to the first pupils in April 2021. The building reflects our passion for sustainability and benefits from clever environmental design, employing a thermally efficient envelope, photovoltaic panels, natural ventilation, excellent daylighting and reduced water consumption. The generous floor to ceiling heights provide opportunities for the construction of large-scale prototypes, promoting new and exciting ways of exploring ideas, unconstrained by standard classroom sizes. The College’s partnership with Beko allows us to leverage the advanced capability of Beko’s Research and Development facility in Cambridge and is opening up new opportunities for academic outreach and for partnership programmes in the spheres of social enterprise, engineering and technology.

The Department prides itself on enabling pupil ownership of their learning. Through their individual projects, pupils are encouraged to identify and explore their own ideas while benefitting from the parallel design processes of their peers. There is a particular emphasis on the use of digital design and manufacture as a means of conveying, resolving and realising these ideas. Pupils are able to access the full Adobe suite, computer modelling and simulation, additive manufacturing and electronic system development software exposing them to industry-standard workflows and processes. Our approach enables pupils to appreciate the relationship between science and art, balancing the technical with the aesthetic.

Our Shell foundation year aims to offer sufficient stretch to our most able while inducting those new to this style of thinking. We follow the OCR Product Design syllabus although pupils are encouraged to incorporate a scientific or technical element to their project work. This programme offers a grounding in the principles of iterative design practice with a contemporary appreciation of the requirements of 21st century design and manufacturing industries. It offers flexibility in the approaches pupils can use to apply their knowledge and understanding of these principles when designing and making prototypes to solve real and relevant problems.

We want pupils to have both the theoretical grounding and the practical experience to think like designers. Projects are set each term that focus on the design process behind production to instil an appreciation of both the decision-making demands and operational parameters in industry, with all the implications of balancing design ideas with prototype feasibility that brings.

The Beko Innovation Centre is open during free time, study time and regular Sundays throughout the year to support project activity, and the DT library is well stocked and maintained to ensure pupils have excellent access to books specific to the subject. The College’s partnership with Beko will leverage the advanced capability of Beko’s Research and Development facility in Cambridge and will extend and grow both parties’ existing academic outreach and partnership programmes. It is also hoped that collaborations with business and HE can be facilitated in the future through the Cambridge Network.

We offer a range of stimulating and challenging clubs, focusing on skills as diverse as computer programming, lighting design and skateboard manufacture. We visit design shows and lectures in London as well as organising an annual Sixth Form industry trip to see real-life manufacture, assembly and product testing. We have a great relationship with the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in the US and offer pupils the opportunity to visit them in Georgia.

Beaks are on hand to advise and support pupils with folio preparation for university applications in a broad range of design and engineering programmes.